Gaza as a Laboratory

(Economist-UK/BICOM) It is, of course, more likely than not that some Palestinian gunmen and suicide bombers, especially those of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, will try to strike Israel even after a pull-out. But Gaza is isolated, and already fenced, so their power to do so will be limited unless they can smuggle in rockets able to reach Israeli cities. And Egypt, which is offering to help stop this smuggling, has a strong self-interest in preventing the Strip from becoming a haven for terrorism. Once the Israelis have left the Strip, the world should, and almost certainly will, lean on Israel to open Gaza's airport and seaport, and allow the passage of Gazan goods and workers. It is true that Israel's willingness to cooperate will depend on the ability of the Palestinians to establish law and order in its army's wake. But why should that prove beyond their means, or against their interest? Palestinian leaders have every reason to show the world that Mr. Sharon is wrong when he keeps on saying that Israel has no responsible partner on the other side. At best, Gaza freed from military occupation could be a laboratory, showcase, and worked example of the land-for-peace model that can be copied on the West Bank.

2004-10-22 00:00:00

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